By Paddy Leese - 29th May 2012 7:18am
The 1st XI played out a draw in the home match against Offerton on a hot Saturday afternoon. Skipper Chris Shenton lost the toss and Audlem faced a tough task having to field first on a batting track as good as likely to be seen in May.
The visitors got off to a good start with the impressive Ian Bates leading the attack. Audlem found it hard going, but kept their spirits up and it was only until Bates eventually went for 71, leaving the visitors on 130 for 3, did things eventually change for the hosts. Wickets fell regularly thereafter as Offerton upped the run-rate in the last 15 overs to post a big score. The only other batsman to significantly contribute was Tom Thelwell, whose 23 included a brace of fine maximum strikes. The innings finished on 203 for 9 off the maximum 48 overs. Kemal Toraman ( 4 for 52) and Stuart Elkes (2 for 47) were Audlem’s most successful bowlers.
Having endured 48 overs in the field under the hot sun, it was Audlem’s turn to bat on the batsman friendly track. The innings got off to a good start at the required run-rate. However, before long Audlem had lost both openers — Andy Rothwell and Quama Matthews – with the score on 27. When Rich Wilson went three runs later, things weren’t looking good. Even a re-jigged batting line up giving players a break and promoting the big hitters didn’t pay off, as Audlem either gave their wickets away, or were dismissed by the good ball.
Significant batting performances came from Tom Kural, who hit an excellent, gritty, 58 not out off 93 balls and Elkes who hit 20 off 27 balls including two boundaries and a six. As the overs dwindled away, it was up to Kural and Simon Swift to see the innings out, the score finishing on 157 for 9 off the 42 overs.
Audlem gained 8 points and Offerton 15. As a result, Audlem stay in fourth spot in Division 2, but the gap between them and third place has risen to 37 points.
On Saturday the 1st XI are again at the Gorse Croft, when they welcome next-to-bottom Mossley. The match starts at 1.30 pm.
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